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Managing an Immigration Program: Steps for Creating and Increasing Legal Capacity

Papal Messages for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Cover of Papal Messages for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees

The Church has celebrated the World Day of Migrants and Refugees each year since 1914. This is an occasion for the Church and people of faith to reflect upon the role migration has played in our tradition, express concern for migrants, refugees, and people on the move, and build awareness about the challenges and opportunities migration presents. Read our compilation of World Day of Migrants messages (also available in Spanish). Here you can also find Pope Francis’ 2016 message where he says all migrants are “our brothers and sisters in search of a better life, far away from poverty, hunger, exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet’s resources which are meant to be equitably shared by all.”

The"Papal Messages of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees" compiled by CLINIC covers the rich history of statements issued by the Holy Father from 1995 to the present.

Download Papal Messages for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (pdf)


Lea nuestra compilación de mensajes sobre el Día Mundial de los Migrantes y Refugiados. Aquí usted también puede encontrar  el mensaje de Papa Francisco de 2016 donde el Santo Padre dice que todos los migrantes son “nuestros hermanos y hermanas que buscan una vida mejor lejos de la pobreza, del hambre, de la explotación y de la injusta distribución de los recursos del planeta, que deberían ser divididos ecuamente entre todos.”

Bajar Mensajes para las Jornadas Mundiales del Emigrante En Español (pdf)


All text is from the Vatican website.


Related CLINIC Resources

Compilation of Catholic Social Teaching Passages on Migration

Quotes from Pope Francis on Immigration

About CLINIC's Catholic Identity

Guiding Principles of CLINIC's Work




Quotes from Pope Francis on Immigration

Image from Pope Quote Document

Pope Francis has spoken out on immigration issues since the beginning of this papacy.

CLINIC's "Quotes from Pope Francis" is a compilation of select excerpts from Pope Francis' homilies, messages, and teaching documents on immigration issues.


Download Quotes from Pope Francis on Immigration (pdf)


 This document will be updated periodically. Last updated February 11, 2016.


Related CLINIC Resources

Compilation of Catholic Social Teaching Passages on Migration

Papal Messages for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees

About CLINIC's Catholic Identity

Guiding Principles of CLINIC's Work




The Citizenship Test

Newly updated in 2015, CLINIC’s study guide for the U.S. citizenship test explains the naturalization testing requirements and contains 13 study units on U.S. history and civics with many colorful and historic photos and illustrations, as well as maps, diagrams, and timelines. It includes a glossary of vocabulary words and test review questions for each unit. There are also discussion questions for each unit, and additional, optional study questions to amplify the content. It is designed for both classroom use and for self-study.


 Download the Free Guide

 Read the Guide on Issuu


Additional Resources:

CLINIC collects translations of the 100 civics (history and government) questions for the naturalization test here.

CLINIC offers a rapid e-learning course to help train immigration legal staff and volunteers on completing the application for naturalization here.

If you are a service provider looking to establish a citizenship test preparation program, visit our Center for Immigrant Integration site or our Citizenship Toolkit for help and more resources.

Promotional Resources

CLINIC provides materials for you to use to share this guide with clients, colleagues, or friends.


These postcards can be printed on Avery templates 5889, 8386, and 8389. Click here to download a grayscale version of the postcard. Click here to download a color version of the postcard.


Social Media Graphics

You can use these images to share the guide on your social media platforms:

Click on the link and then right click the image to save to your computer.





Have a Question?

If you have any feedback or questions, please contact Laura Burdick at


A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan

The United States is a nation of immigrants united by a common creed and shared values. With 37 million foreign born residents, the United States’ strength and vitality depends on the contributions of its newest members. However, the integration of a population of this magnitude and diversity cannot be assumed. The pressing policy question becomes: what can be done to promote the integration of this record number of immigrants? A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan proposes a national program to naturalize the eight million immigrants who – based on their years as Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) – may qualify to naturalize, as well as the millions more who will become eligible in the near future.1 Citizenship is a significant marker of immigrant integration and a pre-condition to full membership in our constitutional democracy. As a practical matter, naturalization involves immigrants in a range of integration activities. Yet despite its benefits, the United States does surprisingly little to promote this process. In theory, we want eligible immigrants to naturalize, but in practice we do little to encourage or assist them.


A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan setsforth the resources, activities, and partnerships that would be required to naturalize as many eligible immigrants as possible. It calls for a national mobilization in support of citizenship, identifying the roles of government, immigrant service agencies, and other sectors of society in a coordinated plan. It describes a program that could serve as the linchpin of an emerging U.S. immigrant integration strategy.


To download the full report - CLICK HERE
















CLINIC’s Advocacy Guide: How We Can Help You


CLINIC's Advocacy Guide

CLINIC wants to remind members of how its Advocacy Section can provide support and assistance.  This document outlines the advocacy related services CLINIC can provide as well as the channels through which CLINIC works with officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resolve individual case and systemic problems. 

CLINIC relies on input from its affiliates to help identify problematic trends and policies of the federal government.  Please remember to share individual case stories and reports of inappropriate or problematic policies that you encounter in your work.  Bring issues to the attention of CLINIC’s Advocacy Director, Allison Posner at or (301) 565-4831, at any time. Information from you is crucial to CLINIC’s ability to advocate for improvements that benefit the individuals served by CLINIC’s network.




USCIS ISSUES AND CASES                                                                                                  

  • Systemic or General Policy Issues                                                                              
  • Inquiries on Cases Pending at USCIS Service Centers                                                

ICE AND CBP ISSUES AND CASES                                                                                     

  • Enforcement-Related Problems                                                                                              
  • Alternatives to Detention                                                                                            
  • ICE Detention Standard Violations                                                                             
  • Other DHS Enforcement Issues                                                                                              
  • Documenting Cases/Violations to Raise with ICE/CBP                                                           

MEDIA ADVOCACY                                                                                                            

SUPPORT ON STATE/LOCAL IMMIGRATION MEASURES                                                            






Strategies for SIJS Cases in Light of Adjustment Backlog

With the release of the May 2016 Visa Bulletin, we are seeing dramatic changes in when certain children with Special Immigrant Juvenile Status will be able to apply for adjustment of status and become lawful permanent residents. This practice advisory provides background on how the visa bulletin works in SIJS cases and offers recommendations on how to proceed to best represent your SJIS clients facing adjustment delays.


Download the Document

Praying the Rosary with Our Lady of Guadalupe and Tales of Immigrants (Also Available In Spanish)

Praying the Rosary with Our Lady of Guadalupe and Tales of Immigrants - The Luminous Mysteries

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531, speaking in his native language and requesting that he go to the head of the church in Mexico and ask that a church be built in the place where she appeared. Juan Diego faced rejection and later was tested by having to persuade Bishop Juan de Zumárraga of the miraculous apparition. Mary offered him consolation and guidance. Faithfully following her instructions, Juan Diego went to the top of a hill, where he found his sign—a garden of roses in a typically barren spot. He picked the roses and brought them back to the Virgin Mary, who arranged them in his cloak. When Juan Diego returned to the bishop to present the roses and retell the story of Mary’s appearance, another miracle occurred. Mary’s image appeared on the cloak. Convinced by the miracles that Mary was indeed present, the bishop had a church built as she had asked. Juan Diego’s cloak was placed above the altar, where it is still displayed. For many, Our Lady of Guadalupe has been a source of strength, protection, and encouragement to remain faithful through trials and hardship.

The Rosary helps to recall significant mysteries in our faith and brings us into prayer around them. With these reflections about the lives of immigrants with whom the staffs of our affiliates have worked, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) invites you to join us in praying for dignity and justice for our immigrant sisters and brothers. Just as the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary shed light on an important aspect of Christ’s mission, we hope these reflections will shed light on some immigrant experiences.

How to Pray the Rosary

    1. Begin by making the Sign of the Cross. Then say the Apostles Creed.
    2. Recite the Our Father.
    3. Recite a Hail Mary on each of these three beads.
    4. Recite the Glory Be. Then meditate on the first mystery, followed by the Our Father.
    5. Recite 10 Hail Marys, one for each bead of the decade.
    6. Recite a Glory Be. Then meditate on the second mystery, followed by the Our Father.
    7. Recite 10 Hail Marys, one for each bead of the decade.
    8. Recite a Glory Be. Then meditate on the third mystery, followed by the Our Father.
    9. Recite 10 Hail Marys, one for each bead of the decade.
    10. Recite a Glory Be. Then meditate on the fourth mystery, followed by the Our Father.
    11. Recite 10 Hail Marys, one for each bead of the decade.
    12. Recite a Glory Be. Then meditate on the fifth mystery, followed by the Our Father.
    13. Recite 10 Hail Marys, one for each bead of the decade.
    14. Recite the Hail Holy Queen and end with making the Sign of the Cross.

Pentecost: On Fire for Immigration Reform

The Feast of Pentecost is upon us! This is a time to celebrate the missionary outburst to share the evangelii gaudium, the joy of the Gospel, with all people. And, it is at this wondrous time that we join Catholics in prayerful action to repair our disjointed immigration system.

Pentecost is an ancient feast marking the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples:

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.  And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.  Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. (Acts 2:1-4)

“The birthday of the Church,” Pentecost takes place fifty days after Easter and notes the endowment of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit to Christians:  wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. 

This Pentecost, may we be inspired by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to practice these virtues for the promotion of human dignity and the protection of the most vulnerable among us. If we are “truly wise” and “understanding” we will relish what is right and just for immigrants in our country and will work with “fortitude” for genuine immigration reform, sustained by the “piety” of love and hope.

May the feast of Pentecost rekindle in our hearts the fire of God’s love for all, and energize us to continue the work of immigration reform in partnership with our immigrant sisters and brothers, who are participating in the mission of the Holy Spirit to “renew the face of the Earth”—and of the United States of America.

Download the PDF

Basics of Catholic Social Teaching and Migration

In advocating on behalf of migrants, immigrants, and refugees, it is important to understand that the Catholic position is based on Catholic social teaching, which is derived from the Gospels and the words of Christ; statements and encyclicals of the Popes; and statements and pastoral letters of bishops around the world, including the bishops of the United States.

Download the PDF

Administrative Relief (AR) Resources

If you need help with Administrative Relief, click here for the affiliate directory.


 Click Here for Affiliate Only Material





Government Memos

Additional Government Information





Asylee Eligibility for Resettlement Assistance Guide

This guide is designed to give service providers the tools and information needed to address the barriers to resettlement and integration faced by asylees and to better assist their clients.  It contains crucial and timely information about the benefits and services for which asylees are eligible, including job placement assistance, English language classes, health screening, temporary cash and medical assistance, social security cards, employment authorization cards, adjustment of status, I-94s, travel authorization, petitioning for immediate relatives, and federal student financial aid.


To download the full guide - CLICK HERE

Estimates of the Size and Demography of the Undocumented on-Citizen Population in U.S. Catholic Dioceses, 2013

In 2013, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University to complete a study estimating the size, characteristics, and geographic distribution of the U.S. undocumented (i.e., non-citizens who are not temporary migrants such as students, diplomats, short-term visitors, etc., those who are legal permanent residents, or refugees or asylees). This is similar to a study conducted by CARA for CLINIC in 2006 using 2005 data. CARA used current data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics to create “residual” estimates of the undocumented population by diocese, the geography of the Catholic Church in the United States, which was compiled with state and county-level data and estimates. The research provides profiles to assist CLINIC in their mission to provide assistance to immigrants in need of legal representation and advice.

Click here to view the study.

Citizenship for Elders: Issues and Options in Test Preparation, 2nd Edition (2012)

Citizenship for Elders is a unique handbook for teachers and administrators on creating and managing a citizenship program for the older learner.  This handbook brings together the observations and insights of teachers from across the country on older learners from a wide range of cultures.  It is based on a nationwide survey of 200 programs.  It identifies the issues in teaching elders and makes recommendations for instruction and program design.  The recommendations are practice-based, with a focus on innovative and promising practices.  The suggestions on learning activities, cultural considerations for the classroom, and strategies to address common health issues will be particularly helpful to teachers.  CLINIC hopes this free handbook will help service providers strengthen their programs and assist many more elders to secure their future in the U.S. by becoming citizens.

Click Here to View "Citizenship for Elders"

Starting a Legal Immigration Program: Capacity Building in a Charitable Community Agency

The Need for Charitable Legal Immigration Services

Current capacity does not meet current demands for low-cost legal representation in immigration matters. For instance, immigrants eligible and soon-to-be eligible to naturalize as U.S. citizens have less income, education, and English language ability than immigrants who naturalized in previous decades.

It is expected that any significant changes in current immigration law will greatly increase demand for services. One possible change is comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) with an earned pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11.9 million undocumented immigrants2 (commonly referred to as “legalization”).

Lawyers working in private practice and at nonprofit agencies are the major legal service providers to persons in need of legal representation, including non-citizens seeking immigration-related services. Lawyers specifically concentrating in the field of immigration law include the 11,000 members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, as well as thousands of others who focus on immigration law as their primary practice area. For lowincome immigrants, however, legal representation through the private bar is often not an affordable option, as Legal Services Corporation (LSC) “alienage” restrictions on LSC-funded agencies prevent them from providing low-cost services to many non-citizens, including most of the undocumented.

Because of these limitations, many low-income immigrants seek services from other nonprofit agencies, many of which are faith-based and often provide a wide array of both social and legal services. In many instances, these agencies are staffed by non-attorney legal workers who
provide both counseling and direct services to clients. In the field of immigration law, non-attorney legal workers may be authorized to provide legal services to the same extent as an attorney if they become what is known as an “accredited representative” and work for a nonprofit agency
that has applied for and received “recognized agency status.”

Information about the requirements for obtaining this status is included in Appendix 1. To date, there are approximately 700 nonprofit offices with recognized agency status, and approximately 650 persons with accredited representative status. Nearly one-third of the recognized agencies are
affiliate programs of CLINIC.

Thinking About Case Management

The design and implementation of immigration case management systems will vary among immigration programs since every program is different.  However, a program whose case management system works for staff members and meets the needs of clients are the most effective.  Such system takes into account the population served, types of services offered, level and experience of staff, agency’s mission and financial situation to name a few.   For organizations providing VAWA immigration services, you need to consider additional factors in your case management system for handling VAWA cases.  This may include more time for intakes, interviews and application preparation, a process for collaborating with domestic violence providers to provide application support and include additional confidentiality measures to protect the client, client information and the staff.  Such confidentiality measures may include having a separate interview room for VAWA clients, locking VAWA cases in a separate filing cabinet and limiting access of VAWA cases to those who are working on them, prohibiting staff from taking VAWA cases outside of the office other than for interviews and hearings and literally having an exit strategy for staff if the abuser came to the office.  Some of this is discussed in the article, “Considerations for Immigration Programs Working on VAWA Self-Petitions and U Visa Cases” listed below.  

Although there are differences among agencies in their case management policies and procedures, every agency should have certain case management components that are essential and non-negotiable. This applies to all agencies regardless of its size, age or type of services offered.

Whether you are developing or revising your existing case management system, a good starting point is to review the major components of immigration case management system.   The documents below especially the chapter from CLINIC’s Managing an Immigration Program manual entitled, “Case Management Systems” provides a good overview of the major components of case management system.  Hopefully, the resources below will help your office develop a case management system rooted in best practices.   

Preparing for Comprehensive Immigration Reform: An Earned Pathway to Citizenship & Beyond

CLINIC has updated its 2006 Legalization Manual.

The manual, Preparing for Comprehensive Immigration Reform: An Earned Pathway to Citizenship and Beyond offers recommendations from “veterans” of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA).   The manual was created to help charitable immigration agencies increase program capacity and prepare for a large increase in the number of people needing immigration services. Its recommendations are offered to spur thinking and planning by these programs. As IRCA taught us, a “one size fits all” approach cannot succeed since the needs and circumstances of programs vary. It is hoped that the manual will enable programs to develop the policies and practices that are best suited to the circumstances of their programs and communities.

This manual is not intended to be used to create immigration legal service programs. For those interested in learning how to start an immigration legal service program, please refer to Immigration Management: Building Blocks for a Successful Program (“Immigration Management”) by CLINIC, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), and Immigration and Refugee Services of America.

Preparing for Comprehensive Immigration Reform: An Earned Parthway to Citizenship and Beyond begins with a summary or check list of recommendations. It then provides an extensive narrative that elaborates on these recommendations. 

To download the entire manual, click here.


CLINIC has developed a proposal document to help its affiliates apply for funding related to immigration and specifically Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).  To view these documents, please log in and click on the links below.

Proposal Template

Worksheet - Objectives, Activities and Timeline

Strategies for Naturalizing the Most Vulnerable Applicants Handbook

Refugees and immigrants strongly desire U.S. citizenship. Yet, many of them, especially those who are elderly, disabled, low-income, low-literate, and limited English proficient, face serious challenges in the naturalization process. These challenges can impede their integration and their civic participation in U.S. society.

This handbooks outlines strategies for helping these particular populations naturalize.


Immigrant-Led Organizers in Their Own Voices

The United States is experiencing historically unprecedented levels of immigration. As of March immigrantorganizersvoice2005, there were 37 million foreign-born persons in the United States, making up 12 percent of the population. Approximately 14 million immigrants arrived during the 1990s.2 From the early 1990s to 2000, the number of immigrants increased by 61 percent. Today, immigrants are changing the face of the cities in which they settle. Some have argued that immigration policies, including immigrant integration, are necessary to ensure our nation’s security and domestic harmony.3 While society as a whole should be responsible for addressing the integration needs of immigrant communities, in many cases immigrants themselves have taken the primary initiative to integrate into U.S. society. Many have chosen organizing as a powerful way of doing this.


To download the entire publication, please click here.

At-Risk Reports

In 2000-2001, CLINIC published a series of reports on immigration issues based on numerous case studies. These are not current reports.

The reports identify, track, and examine the impact of our nation's laws and immigration policies on at-risk immigrants. They illustrate particularly compelling problems faced by immigrants, clear explanations of the law at the root of such problems, and other research.

To order hardcopies of these reports, please complete this form and mail a $10 check or money order to CLINIC, 415 Michigan Ave. NE, Suite 200, Washington DC 20017.